Heroes of Newerth

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Heroes of Newerth
Developer(s)S2 Games
Frostburn Studios
Publisher(s)Frostburn Studios
Writer(s)Mark Yohalem
Composer(s)Arnej Šećerkadić
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
ReleaseMay 12, 2010
Genre(s)Multiplayer online battle arena

Heroes of Newerth (HoN) was a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game originally developed by S2 Games for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.[1] The game idea was derived from the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne custom map Defense of the Ancients and was S2 Games' first MOBA title.[2] The game was released on May 12, 2010, and re-released as a free-to-play game on July 29, 2011.[3] On May 5, 2015, Heroes of Newerth development duties passed to Frostburn Studios, with the development team moving over to the new company.[4] The service ceased operations on June 20, 2022, but the game is still playable with the community's support.[5][6]


Heroes of Newerth pits two teams of players against each other: the Legion and the Hellbourne.[7] Both teams are based at opposite corners of the map in their respective bases. Bases consist of buildings, barracks, towers, a hero spawning pool, and a central structure. The goal of the game is to either destroy the central structure, the World Tree (Legion) or Sacrificial Shrine (Hellbourne), of the opposite base or force the other team to concede. Players achieve this by selecting heroes with unique skills to combat the other team.

Game starts with hero picking phase. There are picking modes to allow players to create teams with balanced functionality. Heroes fill different roles in teams. Heroes can specialize in dealing damage, tanking, crowd control, healing, destroying towers, farming, defending, harassing, initiating fights, empowering nearby allies, providing vision, seeking and revealing enemies, killing kongor and so on. Heroes can fulfill many of these roles in different degrees. Typical roles are Carry, Support, Ganker, Jungler and Suicide. Players can choose to fill multiple roles at the same time.

After the game starts, players need gold and experience to get stronger over time. To achieve this, players initially need to go to lanes, jungle, kongor's pit or one of golem's pits. Experience is gained by seeing an enemy soldier, hero, neutral creature, kongor or golem die, from a predefined range. Purple dots on creeps indicate whether the player is close enough to gain experience when the creep dies. Gold is gained by killing or assisting the killing of enemy soldiers, heroes, creatures, devices, kongor or golem. As players level up, they choose an ability to level up, or level up stats, which gives +2 to agility, intelligence and strength. The maximum hero level is 25.

Each player typically plays one hero. Players can allow each other to control their own heroes. Some heroes can spawn or summon pets, creatures or devices. Heroes typically have four abilities. The default keys for abilities are Q, W, E and R. Sometimes the D key is used for the fifth ability. The fourth ability is the ultimate ability.

As of September 1, 2018, there are 139 playable heroes.[8] Each game, a player chooses one hero to be for the duration of the match. Most heroes have four abilities that may be acquired and upgraded as the hero gains experience and levels up, defaulted to keys "Q", "W", "E", and "R". An ability can be leveled up whenever the hero's level goes up. "R" is the hero's ultimate and can only be leveled up when the hero reaches level 6 except for some heroes.

Heroes are grouped by their main attribute. The three types are Agility, Intelligence, and Strength. Usually, Agility heroes rely on their basic attacks and go for damage per second (DPS) and increase their armor and attack speed. Intelligence heroes maximize the use of their abilities and try to maximize the amount of Mana they have and Mana regeneration. Strength heroes can take the most damage and increase their Max Health and Health regeneration.

Heroes also are grouped by their attack type. The two attack types are melee and ranged. Melee heroes have short attack range and ranged heroes have long attack range. Ranged heroes have varying attack ranges. Abilities have their own ranges.


Development started in 2005. In October 2009, associate game designer Alan "Idejder" Cacciamani claimed that Heroes of Newerth had been in development for "34 months, but the first 13 were spent on engine development. The entirety of assets, including maps, items, heroes, and art were made in 21 months".[9]

New features, balance changes and new heroes are regularly introduced with patches. Most game mechanics and many heroes in Heroes of Newerth are heavily based on Defense of the Ancients. The additions that differentiate Heroes of Newerth from Defense of the Ancients are features independent from gameplay; such as tracking of individual statistics, in-game voice communication, GUI-streamlined hero selection, game reconnection, match making, player banlists, penalties for leaving and chat features. Several features added via updates include a Hero Compendium (a list of the heroes in the game with detailed statistics about them), the ability to set a "following" trait on a friend which makes the player join/leave the games that a friend joins (similar to the "party" feature in other games), an in-game ladder system, and a map editor. The game uses S2 Games' proprietary K2 Engine and a client-server model similar to that used in other multiplayer games.[10][11]

Heroes of Newerth was in beta from April 24, 2009, until May 12, 2010. Throughout this time, over 3,000,000 unique accounts were registered.[12] S2 Games used a Facebook fan page and word of mouth to attract players to the game. Many people who had bought one of S2 Games' previous games also received an invitation to the game through their registered email.

On August 22, 2009, the pre-sale of Heroes of Newerth began for members of the closed beta. Players who purchased the game at this time received additional benefits, including name reservation, gold-colored nameplate, gold shield insignia, and an in-game taunt ability. Open beta testing for Heroes of Newerth began on March 31, 2010, and ran until May 12, 2010, when the game was released.[13][14]

S2 Games released Heroes of Newerth 2.0 on December 13, 2010.[15] Features included in the update were casual mode, a new user interface, team matchmaking, an in-game store, and an offline map editor.[16] Microtransactions were also introduced via the in-game store with the use of coins.[17] Coins can be used to purchase cosmetic changes within the game, such as alternative hero skins, avatars, and customized announcer voices.[18][19] The in-game currency can either be purchased with real life currency or earned via Matchmaking games.[20][21]

S2 Games released Heroes of Newerth as a free-to-play game on July 29, 2011.[3] Accounts that were purchased before this date retained access to all content and updates without additional charges. Accounts made after this had 15 free-rotating heroes to choose from; the 15 heroes rotated every week. These accounts only had access to the game mode All Pick. Through purchasing coins or earning them in play, players could purchase the ability to use additional heroes. Players had to pay for tokens to play additional game modes, so that they could temporarily have the hero pool available to provide balance in hero selection.[22]

On July 19, 2012, nearly one year after announcing its free-to-play model S2 Games announced publicly that the game would be completely free to play with no restrictions to hero access, excluding Early Access to yet to be released heroes. The in-game store pricing was also reworked to allow easier access to in-game cosmetic content.

In October 2012, S2 Games announced HoN Tour, an automated tournament system built into the game. The tournament is open to anyone and players compete to earn real money. The first "cycle" of the event began the weekend of December 1.

In December 2012, Heroes of Newerth was hacked with over 8 million accounts being breached. The compromised data included usernames, email addresses and passwords. The hack was announced by the perpetrator themself on Reddit with S2 Games later confirming the breach.[23]

On May 1, 2013, S2 Games released Heroes of Newerth 3.0. Version 3.0 significantly updated the game's graphics, added bots, and dramatically improved features for introducing new players to the game. Part of the change features different looking lanes, cliffs, and towers. Heroes as well, look sharper and more detailed. The features for new players include tutorial videos and AI bots for a stress-free playing environment.[24]

On May 5, 2015, it was announced that Garena had acquired Heroes of Newerth from S2 Games, and established FrostBurn Studios to handle development of the game.[4][25] Many of previous S2 Games staff members who help develop and maintain the game were subsequently employed by the new FrostBurn studios.

On November 6, 2020, Frostburn Studios released the HoN 64-Bit Client, that should result in a much more stable experience for those on the Latest Windows (10), most notably faster FPS, and reduced loading times.[26]

On February 9, 2021, a macOS 64-Bit Universal client was announced to be getting into closed beta.[27]

In the recent years, the game has been getting patches every 8 weeks aimed at improving game balance, bug fixing, and occasionally bringing new hero avatars and items,[28] with 4.9.2. being the latest version that went live on March 30, 2021.[29]

On December 15, 2021, HoN's developers announced that the game will be shut down on June 20, 2022;[30][31] however, the game is still playable with the community's support post-shutdown.[5][6]


Heroes of Newerth has received generally positive reviews, with a score of 76 out of 100 from Metacritic.[32] Reviews have generally praised the technical aspects of the game, while criticizing the harsh learning curve and the commonly critical nature of the community.[35] When Heroes of Newerth became free-to-play on July 29, 2011, the game had accumulated over 526,000 paid accounts with 460,000 unique players.[3] The number of concurrent players online has also steadily increased over time, peaking at 150,000 as of May 2013. In mid-2013, Heroes of Newerth was the third most played game in internet cafés in the Philippines.[36] Laura Baker, the director of marketing for S2 Games, stated that both the "Mac and Linux clients have done well for us."[37]

Awards and nominations
Date Awards Category Result
March 11, 2010 12th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards Audience Award Winner[38]
October 25, 2010 MTV Game Awards 2010 Let's Play Together Nominee[39]
December 1, 2010 4th Annual Mashable Awards Best Online Game Finalist[40]
March 26, 2013 RTSGuru's PAX East Awards 2013 Best MOBA Winner[41]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "S2 Games Announces Heroes of Newerth". IGN.com. September 2, 2009. Archived from the original on September 6, 2009. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  2. ^ Nguyen, Thierry (September 1, 2009). "Clash of The DOTAs". 1UP.com. Archived from the original on November 28, 2011. Retrieved November 19, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c Biessener, Adam (July 29, 2011). "Heroes Of Newerth Goes Free-To-Play". Game Informer. Archived from the original on January 15, 2012. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  4. ^ a b Tan, Nicholas (May 5, 2015). "Frostburn Studios Becomes New Developer for Heroes of Newerth". Archived from the original on June 3, 2015. Retrieved May 5, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Heroes of Newerth". DelistedGames.com. October 23, 2022. Archived from the original on January 14, 2023. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  6. ^ a b "HOW TO PLAY HEROES OF NEWERTH WITH LAUNCHER - AN EASY WAY!". Youtube.com. Archived from the original on March 21, 2023. Retrieved March 21, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Marie, Meagan (March 3, 2010). "Heroes of Newerth - In Defense of The Ancients". Game Informer. Archived from the original on April 10, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  8. ^ "Heroes of Newerth – Heroes". Heroes of Newerth. Archived from the original on August 5, 2014. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  9. ^ "Ask S2 Games #1 Retrieved on 2009-10-31". Forums.heroesofnewerth.com. Archived from the original on December 31, 2009. Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  10. ^ "Heroes of Newerth Launches Worldwide Today". Bluesnews.com. May 12, 2010. Archived from the original on September 27, 2012. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 15, 2010. Retrieved December 31, 2009.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) University of Michigan lecture notes on network programming in games -- Page 7 relevant w/ regards to Peer to Peer disadvantages
  12. ^ Burnes, Andrew (May 12, 2010). "Heroes Of Newerth Goes Live". IGN.com. Archived from the original on May 15, 2010. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
  13. ^ Fahey, Mike (April 1, 2010). "Savage Take On Defense Of The Ancients Enters Open Beta". Kotaku. Archived from the original on October 18, 2012. Retrieved December 10, 2010.
  14. ^ Jackson, Leah (December 23, 2010). "Looking Back at 2010: The Year in PC Games". g4tv.com. Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  15. ^ Pavlacka, Adam (December 2, 2010). "PC Preview - Heroes of Newerth 2.0". WorthPlaying.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  16. ^ Gallegos, Anthony (December 8, 2010). "Heroes of Newerth Goes Casual in 2.0". IGN.com. Archived from the original on December 11, 2010. Retrieved December 8, 2010.
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  18. ^ O' Connor, Alice (December 14, 2010). "Heroes of Newerth Update 2.0 Launches With New Map, Casual Mode". ShackNews.com. Archived from the original on December 15, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
  19. ^ Senior, Tom (December 15, 2010). "Heroes of Newerth update adds casual mode and item store". PCGamer.com. Archived from the original on December 17, 2010. Retrieved December 15, 2010.
  20. ^ McGee, Maxwell (December 3, 2010). "Spotlight On - Heroes of Newerth 2.0". GameSpot.com. Archived from the original on December 4, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
  21. ^ Carr, Jon (December 22, 2010). "S2 Games Developers Discuss Heroes Of Newerth". InsideMacGames.com. Archived from the original on December 27, 2010. Retrieved December 24, 2010.
  22. ^ Sullivan, Lucas (July 29, 2011). "Heroes of Newerth goes Free-to-Play". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
  23. ^ Peel, Jeremy (December 18, 2012). "Heroes of Newerth accounts hacked, passwords breached; "I guess I'll do LoL next", boasts hacker". PCGamesN. Archived from the original on April 14, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  24. ^ Hillier, Brenna (January 31, 2013). "Heroes of Newerth Update 3.0 Focuses on Helping New Players". vg247.com. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved February 5, 2013.
  25. ^ Frostburn Studios (May 5, 2015). "Frostburn Studios is the New Game Developer for Heroes of Newerth" (Press release). Archived from the original on May 7, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015.
  26. ^ "HoN (64-Bit) Client Download [OFFICIAL RELEASE]". HoN Forums. Archived from the original on March 7, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  27. ^ "macOS 64-Bit Universal [CLOSED BETA] Update: Apple Silicon (m1) Native port". HoN Forums. Archived from the original on April 17, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  28. ^ "[2021] Patch Schedule & CoN Season Announcements". HoN Forums. Archived from the original on February 27, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  29. ^ "4.9.2 - Balance & Nostalgia". HoN Forums. Archived from the original on March 23, 2021. Retrieved March 26, 2021.
  30. ^ Daniel, Joshua (December 15, 2021). "Heroes of Newerth will close down after being around for 10 years - MEGPlay". Archived from the original on December 15, 2021. Retrieved December 15, 2021.
  31. ^ "Heroes of Newerth ends service after 10+ years". December 13, 2021. Archived from the original on December 14, 2021. Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  32. ^ a b "Heroes of Newerth for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on April 21, 2019. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
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  34. ^ Miller, Jordan (September 21, 2010). "Heroes of Newerth review". GameZone. Archived from the original on February 2, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  35. ^ a b Rossignol, Jim (April 6, 2010). "Heroes of Newerth review". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  36. ^ Maierbrugger, Arno (July 25, 2013). "Top PC games in Filipino computer cafés". Inside Investor. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  37. ^ S2 Games Calls Their HoN Linux Port A Big Success Archived October 14, 2016, at the Wayback Machine Phoronix, September 21, 2010 (Article by Michael Larabel)
  38. ^ Kietzmann, Ludwig (March 11, 2010). "Joystiq live at the IGF/GDC Awards 2010". Joystiq.com. Archived from the original on December 21, 2010. Retrieved November 5, 2010.
  39. ^ "MTV GameAwards 2010". Gameone.de. October 25, 2010. Archived from the original on November 23, 2010. Retrieved December 9, 2010.
  40. ^ "The 4th Annual Mashable Awards". Mashable.com. December 1, 2010. Archived from the original on December 1, 2010. Retrieved December 1, 2010.
  41. ^ "RTSGuru's PAX East Awards 2013". RTSGuru.com. March 26, 2013. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved March 26, 2013.

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